When Ralph Helfer, now one of Hollywood's top animal behaviorists, first began working, he was shocked by the cruelty that was accepted practice in the field. He firmly believed in "affection training" -- that love, not fear, should be the basis of any animal's development, even when dealing with the most dangerous of creatures. Then Zamba came into his life -- an adorable four-month-old lion cub that went on to prove Helfer's theories resoundingly correct.
Over the next eighteen years, Zamba would thrive and grow, and go on to star in numerous motion pictures and television shows -- all the while developing a deep and powerful bond of love and affection with the man who raised him. By turns astonishing, hilarious, and poignant, Zamba is not only the unforgettable story of the relationship that Helfer would come to consider one of the most important in his life but also that of the amazing career and adventures of the greatest lion in the world.
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Ralph Helfer is a well-known Hollywood animal trainer who was one of the first to use affection and kindness to train wild animals. He is the author of The Beauty of the Beasts, and he lives in Los Angeles and Kenya, where he leads safari tours.From Publishers Weekly:
Legendary Hollywood animal trainer and behaviorist Helfer captures an incredible story of love between man and lion that displays all the qualities that made his previous book, Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived, so moving. Here Helfer is involved with the subject, which adds emotional depth to a lifelong adventure. Starting with his somewhat brutal childhood on Chicago's South Side, the author deftly develops his story of the spiritual harmony he finds in nature and the violence he sees in the film industry's use of animals. His unique bond with a lion cub he names Zamba grows into a lifetime relationship that includes countless guest stints in movies and television shows, and leads to Helfer's development of a system of animal training "based on love, not fear," called "affection training." It "has revolutionized the way animals are trained and treated in the motion picture industry." The heart of the book is an account of Helfer's trip to Africa to assist Zamba with a starring role in The Lion, where the author's bond with his lion becomes a true spiritual connection that will touch the heart of any animal lover. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
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